The White House authorized the release of the review group's report Wednesday, weeks ahead of schedule.
The panel called for more independent review of what the NSA collects and the process by which it goes about gathering data. The group also proposed that a court sign off on the individual searches of the metadata.
In addition, the panel called for tightening federal law enforcement's use of so-called national security letters, which give authorities sweeping authority to demand financial and phone records without prior court approval in national security cases. The task force recommended that authorities should be required to obtain a prior "judicial finding" showing "reasonable grounds" that the information sought was relevant to terrorism or other intelligence activities.
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